68 episodes

Deep and authentic conversations with the world's top business thought-leaders, authors, executives, and scholars with one clear aim: To educate and inspire leaders to act on seeing people in the workplace as real human beings, and not as objects in a transaction. The dynamic is radically different when humans come first. Fear is driven out and love in action creates real competitive advantage.

Love in Action Marcel Schwantes

    • Careers

Deep and authentic conversations with the world's top business thought-leaders, authors, executives, and scholars with one clear aim: To educate and inspire leaders to act on seeing people in the workplace as real human beings, and not as objects in a transaction. The dynamic is radically different when humans come first. Fear is driven out and love in action creates real competitive advantage.

    How to be a Humble Leader with Edgar & Peter Schein

    How to be a Humble Leader with Edgar & Peter Schein

    “If there’s ever a Mount Rushmore of leadership thinkers and experts that have changed the world,” Marcel Schwantes says, “...I believe that the bust of Edgar Schein should be deserving of a spot.” Edgar Schein is the world’s foremost expert on humble leadership. He is also the author of the Humble Leadership series, the first two of which are Humble Inquiry and Humble Consulting. The most recent addition to the series is Humble Leadership, which he co-wrote with his son Peter Schein, a leadership expert in his own right. Both Edgar and Peter join Marcel to discuss what makes a humble leader.

    Edgar defines leadership as an activity “that somehow produces something new and different that is actually better.” [4:38]

    “Here and now humility means embracing that idea that I don't know, I'm gonna have to trust the people I work with, and together we can figure it out,” Peter says. [6:32]

    Humble leadership requires a level two relationship: subordinates, peers and leaders get to know each other as whole human beings. This type of relationship makes it easy to ask for and tell one another the truth. [8:10]

    Effective leaders do not maintain a level one transactional role, they build more personal relationships. “They collapse the psychological distance and thereby enable themselves to be more humble and their subordinates to be more open and honest,” Edgar remarks. [9:56]

    Peter says that many companies are realizing that building open trusting relationships makes their hierarchy work better. [12:07]

    “Evolving organizations need to continue to emphasize these… personalized relationships between people that have to work together… Sharing information outside of your box is how you innovate, it’s how you prevent accidents, it’s how you grow the organization,” says Peter. [15:15]

    Edgar says that the purpose of his work is to help leaders become aware of their limitations without taking away their role as a leader. They need to understand that “this future world” demands a different way of thinking. [17:28]

    Marcel, Edgar and Peter discuss why management still favors command and control leadership. Peter believes that it’s because of job security as well as job insecurity. Edgar distinguishes between hierarchy and command and control: hierarchy is important for society to function, while command and control is when you use your position inappropriately in a hierarchy. [18:02]

    “What I am most impressed with is that the modern world is a multi-force, global, interdependent system in which figuring out what's right to do is intrinsically impossible,” Edgar says. [23:35]

    Edgar and Peter share how they think humble leadership will impact the future. [26:35]

    Marcel asks the guests to share some practical tips leaders should adopt habitually to become better humble leaders. Edgar replies, “I have truly discovered that good and evil is in my daily actions, not in some set of principles or codes… Every human relationship can start with a constructive intent...” [30:40]

    Edgar suggests that leading through fear comes in part from the US culture of dominance as well as fear of losing its position in the world. Peter adds that leaders fear being out-innovated. They both agree that leaders have to learn to compete as well as collaborate. [34:45]

    “Situational awareness,” Edgar comments, “...flows from the fact that the world is a complicated place and you have to be very conceptually and emotionally agile in the complex world.” [40:18]

    Peter emphasizes the distinction between transparency and openness. He shares why openness should be substituted for transparency. [41:38]

    Edgar wants listeners to embrace humble inquiry as it builds better relationships and allows you to figure out what’s going on and what you should do about it. [43:20]


    • 47 min
    How I Got There with JT McCormick

    How I Got There with JT McCormick

    Marcel Schwantes calls this episode “one of the most authentic and real and raw conversations” he has ever had. His guest, JT McCormick, is the CEO of Scribe Media, a multimillion dollar publishing company which has been ranked the number one Top Company Culture in America by Entrepreneur magazine, and number two Best Place to Work in Texas. JT is the author of I Got There: How a Mixed Race Kid Overcame Racism, Poverty and Abuse to Arrive at The American Dream. He joins Marcel to chat about his amazing life story - his journey from scrubbing toilets at a restaurant to becoming President of a million dollar software company, and now CEO of Scribe Media - and to share the lessons he learned along the way.

    JT says, “If you wake up in the morning and your feet hit the ground, you’ve got to be excellent… Anything that’s not excellent in my life I’m the only one that can change it, so there’s no need to complain about it, just get to work.” [3:45]

    “My why is to be a phenomenal husband, a phenomenal father, a phenomenal CEO. And then I would say fourth on the list is to give back to the communities which I came from.” [5:07]

    Marcel asks JT how he overcame all the adversity of his early life. He replies that he refused to be a victim. He decided, at age eight, not to spend his time trying to get everyone to like him, because some people just would not. This early lesson spared him years of grief. Another fundamental lesson he learned was to believe in himself. [8:38]

    “I just tend to look at things from a positive standpoint… I choose to figure out, How can we make a positive out of a negative situation?” [10:20]

    JT shares his journey from scrubbing toilets to President of a software company. Two lessons he learned were to be the best at whatever he did, and the magic of compound interest. [12:22]

    When JT was promoted to President, it struck him that he was only as good as the people he surrounded himself with. As such, his focus shifted to finding the greatest people to surround the company and himself with. [17:03]

    “If you are in a leadership position, you're only a leader if you serve,” JT argues. He describes how the principle of putting people first is lived out at Scribe Media. [18:05]

    Marcel asks, “How does a company become number one in the category of culture?” JT responds that it’s a matter of the little actions taken every day to live out your principles. At Scribe Media, they work with each other, not for JT. They bring their whole selves to work: he doesn’t believe in a work self vs a home self. He shares several practices they adopt at the company that build the culture. [22:37]

    JT and Marcel discuss Scribe Media’s Culture Bible, which is freely accessible to the public. They talk about three of the principles listed in the Culture Bible: 

    Do right by people;

    Bring your whole self to work;

    Ask questions.  [26:46]

    “A lot of times you can eliminate questions in transparency,” JT points out. [33:21]

    JT explains why he disagrees with the remote work trend. [35:37]

    “What’s your best advice for business owners trying to stay resilient during these crazy stressful times?” Marcel asks. JT advises leaders to put their people first, be transparent, be visible and let people know where they stand. Let people feel safe, he adds, and if you have to pivot or make other tough decisions, make them early and let people know so that you can set their expectations. [39:35]

    JT teaches through sharing his mistakes. [44:19]

    “I can't become something that I don't even know exists,” JT says. “...I believe if people just know what's possible they can strive to achieve that.” [46:19]

    “I live by a formula: Mindset, choices and hard work equals success.” [48:48]

    JT McCormick on LinkedIn
    I Got There: How a Mixed Race Kid Overcame Racis

    • 53 min
    Humanocracy with Gary Hamel

    Humanocracy with Gary Hamel

    Gary Hamel is a world-renowned influential business thinker, a consultant, the Director and co-founder of Management Lab, and a visiting Professor at the London Business School. His newest book, Humanocracy: Creating Organizations as Amazing as the People Inside Them, is a practical guide to dismantling business bureaucracy and replacing it with a much more human-centered and effective system. He and Marcel Schwantes discuss the book and how leaders can apply the principles of ‘humanocracy’.

    Many organizations struggle to adapt to change: it’s usually new businesses who create new business models. Gary remarks that deep change is usually episodic and crisis driven, due in part to pre-existing old bureaucratic structures. Those responsible for seeing and anticipating the future and change are at the top, and by the time an issue is big enough to cross their notice it is often too late. [8:18]

    Bureaucracy was invented for a reason and it was one of the most important human inventions. It was beneficial in bringing people together to do work at scale and improve productivity. However, like all technologies, it was a product of its time, and isn’t suited for the advanced modern world. [12:48]

    Bureaucracy was intended to maximize control, while humanocracy is aimed at maximizing contribution. There is still control and boundaries in humanocracy, while amplifying people’s capacities to grow and learn. [18:10]

    “Leaders are people who know how to make a catalytic effort with others not on the basis of positional authority, but rather through the ability to cast the vision and bring people together,” Gary says. “A leader seeks power with, not power over. If you have to use your bureaucratic power to get things done then you are eroding your real leadership capital.” Gary believes we must redefine leadership as an ability instead of a position. [25:22]

    “An organization has little to fear from the future or its competitors when it’s brimming with self-managing micropreneurs,” Marcel quotes from Gary’s book. He asks him to elaborate. Management pundits have claimed that building a large organization that is entrepreneurial at its core is impossible. Gary gives an example of a company that successfully proves them wrong. [30:33]

    Marcel asks Gary about the risks of a culture of too much humanocracy. He lists rushing into dismantling bureaucracy too quickly. Though imperfect, Gary says, bureaucracy has many benefits. Modern organizations need paradoxical characteristics, such as extreme discipline and control but enormous freedom. Gary believes human beings are good at handling paradox. To him, the definition of a successful organization is “one that is constantly optimizing and redefining those trade offs in the best possible way.” [40:05]

    Marcel asks Gary why he thinks some leaders still lead through fear. In the industrial age, the goal was to turn humans into literal machines, Gary posits. German sociologist Max Weber said, “Bureaucracy succeeds to the extent it is dehumanized,” so in a bureaucracy there was no room for what makes us human, including love. Gary believes that the problems of the modern world require every ounce of human initiative and ingenuity to be solved. An assumption exists that love and accountability are mutually exclusive, he adds. “Real love understands that for people to succeed, there must be discipline.” [48:12]

    Gary Hamel on LinkedIn | Twitter
    Humanocracy: Creating Organizations as Amazing as the People Inside Them

    • 1 hr 2 min
    The Power of Higher Purpose with Robert Quinn

    The Power of Higher Purpose with Robert Quinn

    This week’s guest on the Love In Action podcast, Robert (Bob) Quinn, believes that purpose has a positive influence on a company’s financial health and competitiveness. In addition, on a personal level, purpose helps people grow and thrive. Bob is the Margaret Elliot Tracy Collegiate Professor Emeritus at Michigan Ross School of Business. A prolific author and revered teacher and speaker, he has published 18 books and has been named one of the top speakers in the world on organizational culture. He is among the top 1% of professors cited in organizational behavior textbooks. His viral Google talk on personal purpose has amassed over 16 million views. Bob joins Marcel Schwantes to talk about his book, The Economics of Higher Purpose: Eight Counterintuitive Steps for Creating a Purpose-Driven Organization, including how to shift from a transaction-oriented to a purpose-oriented mindset.

    Bob’s purpose is to inspire positive change. [5:58]

    Once the central focus switches from external rewards to higher purpose, the workforce transforms from agents into owners. [9:01]

    Marcel asks, “What difference does higher purpose make in people's lives?” Bob responds, “To have a higher purpose is to have a calling in life. Your work becomes your purpose. The moment that happens everything changes because you're now living from intrinsic rather than extrinsic motivation, and at that point - Maslow said this years ago - labour becomes love.” [10:21]

    Purpose-driven people live longer, are less prone to many diseases, have better relationships, and make more money. [11:20]

    “Purpose-driven organizations have highly engaged workforces, and they make more money,” Bob says. When you pair profit with relationships, it leads to impressive results at work. [12:05]

    Marcel quotes Bob’s recent blog post, “How an organization responds in a crisis is a function of the culture created prior to the crisis… Those organizations are harvesting their rewards.” Bob gives an example of a company whose culture helped them recover from a crisis.  [16:04]

    These are extraordinary times, Marcel says. “So we got a global pandemic, economic hardship as a result, and then on top of that throw in racial injustice. And that's just in the last five months!” Bob comments that it’s the most tumultuous period he has lived through. [19:42]

    “In a crisis we desperately need a leader to do something,” Bob argues. “The purpose of a leader is to connect people to their purpose; it's to tie and bind people together in pursuit of a new and better future.” [20:31]

    Marcel and Bob discuss some counterintuitive steps for creating a purpose-driven organization, as detailed in Bob’s book. [22:39]

    “Purpose holds us accountable to do hard things, not convenient things,” Bob remarks. “But when we do hard things those are very powerful signals to the culture that it's changing and moving in a positive direction.” [28:19]

    Bob explains the role authenticity plays in high performance organizations. [28:47]

    Bob’s book lays out the counterintuitive process of connecting people to purpose. [35:34]

    Bob wants listeners to take away these four questions, which will instantaneously transform us if we answer them honestly: 

    What result do I want to create? 

    Am I internally directed? 

    Am I other-focused? 

    Am I externally open? [42:20]

    This episode is proudly sponsored by Ally Business Coaching. Visit them at https://lnkd.in/eTzc7Hx

    The Economics of Higher Purpose: Eight Counterintuitive Steps for Creating a Purpose-Driven Organization book
    Becoming Who You Really Are course

    • 46 min
    The Human Moment with Dr. Amy Bradley

    The Human Moment with Dr. Amy Bradley

    Dr. Amy Bradley is a senior faculty member of Hult International Business School. She was chosen as a member of the Thinkers50 Radar Class of 2020 and her work has been published in the Harvard Business Review, Forbes, and The Guardian. Her recent book, The Human Moment: The Positive Power of Compassion in the Workplace, is a hands-on manual to cultivating a culture in the workplace that practices and supports compassion. She joins Marcel Schwantes to discuss the book, and how its principles apply in today’s world.

    Amy wrote her book to accomplish three goals: to teach leaders to practice self care so they can better care for those around them; to give leaders knowledge and confidence in attending to employees who may be going through difficult experiences; and to provide the tools for creating environments where compassion is both systemic and systematic. [9:09]

    Marcel asks Amy why she thinks the workplace is dehumanized. Our relationship dynamic with work has been unhealthy long before the current crisis, Amy claims. We prioritized tasks over relationships, which drove self-focused individualism instead of other-focused collectivism. The pandemic is giving us the opportunity to step back and reset the way we view ourselves and our relationship with work. [10:52]

    Marcel asks Amy to define compassion. She responds that compassion is noticing and responding to the suffering of others and ourselves with kindness, care, generosity, and non-judgment. Different types of compassion are relevant for different environments, but the bottom line is that human beings want to feel loved and cared for. [12:53]

    “Companies, organizations and institutions can have the brightest visions, but if the culture isn’t conducive, compassion will never flourish,” Amy remarks. Organizational culture is most powerfully demonstrated through the testimonies of those within the organization about how they are treated. Culture is intangible, but it is felt and experienced by all employees. [17:52]

    The four domains of growth are: appreciation of life; new possibilities; personal strength; and managerial growth. Amy’s research observed that leaders acquired these types of personal development post-trauma. She gives details and examples for each domain. “People need time, space and support to see their growth from these experiences,” she adds, “otherwise the impact goes unrealized.” [23:03]

    When fostering compassion in the workplace, leaders must be aware that they set the emotional tone in the organization, and should lead by example. Leaders that take the time to make connections and prioritize wellbeing over business outcomes set the tone and context for compassion. [27:27]

    Marcel advises listeners to be mindful of how they express compassion and to be introspective about how compassionate you are when listening to others. “Compassionate listening is being able to not just hear, but listen with the intent to meet someone’s needs or remove their suffering,” he says. Amy comments that a human moment is the act of making the time each day to connect with someone on a basic human level. [32:01]

    Amy believes that some leaders still lead through fear because of an internal drive that stimulates both fear and satisfaction in their brains, causing them to exist in a constant state of anxiety. That drive produces results in the short term, which satisfies the system that perpetuates it, but is not sustainable in the long term. [36:30]

    Dr. Amy Bradley on LinkedIn 
    The Human Moment: The Positive Power of Compassion in the Workplace

    • 42 min
    Leading by Example with Jay Perry

    Leading by Example with Jay Perry

    Jay Perry is the Founder and CEO of Ally Business Coaching, co-author of Success Manifesto with Brian Tracy, and a certified Birkman consultant. He joins Marcel Schwantes to discuss leadership, communication, and perceptions. This episode is proudly sponsored by Ally Business Coaching. Visit them at www.allybusinesscoaching.com     

    “Leadership is simple in theory but tricky in execution,” Jay says. He defines leadership as helping people towards being the best version of themselves. Before they are able to do so, however, leaders must first be their best selves. They can then transfer the knowledge and guidance they received to those in their care in order to help them work on their varying strengths. [8:22]

    There will always be emotional content once there is interaction with people. Jay says that everyone has an optimal state at which they are at their best. The leader’s responsibility is to help people reach and maintain that optimal state. Having respect for each other’s strengths and weaknesses is crucial in building an optimized team. [11:30]

    Marcel asks Jay what characteristics people should be looking for in leaders during this time of crisis and they discuss how leaders must communicate with clarity and urgency, setting the right expectations. [15:25]

    There is a prevalence of assumptions during communication: we assume we understand what people mean and their intentions. When someone asks us a question, we stop actively listening when our minds automatically go into solution mode and search for an answer that we assume we have. Additionally, we all have a bias and approach all situations through one perspective, which affects how we interact with others and handle situations. Creativity flourishes when we can control our biases and get to a place of learning. [16:43]

    Marcel asks Jay about the obstacles that hold leaders back. According to Jay, ego is a large hurdle that leaders must overcome. Other obstacles include assumption-making, a lack of clarity, and addressing realities instead of perceptions. “A person’s perception is more important than their reality,” Jay says. If you perceive something as a threat, you will behave as if you are threatened. [23:26]

    Marcel asks Jay why he thinks some leaders still lead through fear. “We underestimate the power of fear,” Jay replies. It runs deeper than simply holding us back; leaders themselves are fearful of leading through a way that is unfamiliar to them, and so they continue to use fear as a method of leadership. [27:51]

    The desired characteristics that the follower group wants their leadership to have include authenticity, confidence and modesty, and leading by example. Furthermore, leadership must be responsive to change, but hold fast to their core values. A good question leaders can ask themselves as a “self-check” is whether they are making those around them more powerful. [31:12]

    Jay Perry on LinkedIn | Twitter
    Call or text Jay: 416 587 1748
    Success Manifesto by Brian Tracy and Jay Perry

    • 40 min

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